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How to master the fine art of Christmas pyjama dressing

How to master the fine art of Christmas pyjama dressing
US Vogue's Virginia Smith and two guests at fashion week Credit: GETTY IMAGES

As if getting one’s head around festive-season party dressing – and the even worse prospect of not having any festive-season parties to go to - weren’t sufficiently challenging, there’s a new obstacle to the thing we all really want to do, which is festive-season relaxing.

That obstacle is off-duty festive season dressing. In some ways off duty is more of an ask than on duty, because off isn’t really off, is it? It’s just meant to look “off” - ie insouciant, chilled, not remotely freaked out by the fact that none of the guests you invited for Christmas lunch shows any sign of leaving, ever. “Off” is cooking, cooking, sneaking off to watch some Mrs Maisel, cooking, cooking, nipping out into the garden to scream. Only very occasionally is it actually off. As in lounging.

A good set: black and green pyjamas seen at Paris Fashion Weel

The answer to this charade is Christmas pyjama dressing which is now, officially, after years of being championed by designers on the catwalk, a thing in real life. By Christmas PJ dressing, I obviously don’t just mean flinging on your favourite cotton flannel pair as you collapse into bed. I’m talking about the art of gliding around in an upmarket silky set during the day as if to the manor born - sort of like Lady Cora in Downton or, if you really want to weaponise your pjs, Billionaire Ball Breaker Shiv in HBO’s hit darkly comedic drama Succession.

In almost all its aspects, this PJ trend is to be wholeheartedly embraced. Exploring one’s inner classic Hollywood goddess cannot be a bad thing, ever, especially when it entails so little effort. Also, in case it had somehow passed you by, we’re now in the depths of winter when the natural instinct is to give up. It’s not so long ago that the hot Christmas outfit was a slanket. And before that an animal onesie. That the silky PJ is back from the dead suggests that as a species, humans may be making progress after all.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s only a few years ago that the establishment, whatever that is, had a go at women for doing the school run while still wearing their pyjamas. ‘Lazy slatterns’ was the gist. So how come that same establishment – no, still not sure – is throwing its arms round the Gucci, Gabriela Hearst or Dolce & Gabbana versions?

I think the clue’s in those Proper Nouns.

Velvet kimono, £80, ; Hand Embroidered Diamond Jacket , £195, ; Lila Zoda Silk Pyjama, £420, ; Sequin Slip Dress, £149, ; Makeup Planner, £69, ; Velvet pink shirt, £112.50, 

Fancy PJs are often, but not always, nicer than the slightly bobbly winceyette ones. In fact, posh pyjamas occupy that bit of the Venn diagram where supreme comfort and slinky glamour entwine. They’re versatile too – so for those who enjoy nothing more than spending a morning off playing Let’s Accessorise!三级成人视频 (that’s me) they’re actually more useful than the jumpsuit which has become such a staple for so many. If you’ve never quite reconciled yourself to the inconvenience of a one-piece, pyjamas can be an excellent way to create a streamlined jumpsuit look.

Pyjama sizing tends to be straightforward and since there’s not that much variation in cut, there’s not much call for agonising over anything. That said – details, details. Drapey fabrics might seem tempting, but sometimes good quality cotton or linen can make for a crisper, sharper finish. Piping is always a crisp touch. Nor do we have to be too literal. The Fold’s delicious olive velvet belted jacket and matching trousers were clearly never conceived as something you’d stuff under your pillow as you made the bed, but they’re highly PJ in spirit. It’s a similar story with the velvet shirts and joggers from Launched earlier this year by Jo Hooper, a former fashion director at John Lewis, NRBY aims to provide easy options for women who don’t have to be in formal office clothes, or dress in Big Event outfits. “Dressing has changed so much in the past decade,” says Hooper (wearing joggers and some of those dainty satin backless mules from ). “There’s a real drive towards luxurious casual wear. The Japanese call it one mile dressing – clothes you wear to potter around in at home, or locally. Not everything has to be a big number.”

Nathalie Love at the launch of Emilia Wickstead nightwear

N三级成人视频RBY’s velvet shirt, joggers and shirt dress, that have been best sellers this winter, are definitely in the spirit of pj dressing.

You don’t really want to wear your day pyjamas to sleep in, even if they’re technically members of the sleepwear genre. Remember how, when sleep training babies, the experts are unanimous about the importance of creating clear boundaries between their day and night wear?

Feathered Pyjama set, £245, ; Lila Zoda Silk Pyjama, £420, 

There are various ways to get the most out of your PJs. As a full on, deconstructed “suit” you can do the fashion-tuck (one half of the shirt is front panel ) folded into the bottoms. That might sound a bit contrived but it’s often more flattering than trying to tuck the whole lot in. I like adding a smart white cotton T shirt and wearing the top open as a jacket. Splitting a silky set up and wearing the blouse with denim jeans or velvet trousers can look good too. Patterned PJ bottoms can look very good with double or single breasted blazers too. Or match the individual pieces to toning, but not identical, colours.

If PJs really aren’t for you, there’s always the negligee or dressing gown - lovely as a jacket or a dress. Pimp them with metallic nude heels, metallic sneakers, velvet or satin mules. Or tuck the pyjama trousers into biker boots, so that no one mistakes them for actual pyjamas.

Someone will though – there’s always one, isn’t there? And they’ll probably make a feeble joke.

Take it in gracious spirit. And then wipe them off your Christmas card list. Forever. 

's column appears each Saturday in The Saturday Telegraph and is published online every Saturday at 7am on Telegraph Fashion.

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